A 21st Century Brick-and-Mortar
Health and Wellness Profit Center
CHAIN RETAILERS ARE INCREASING BOTH FOOT TRAFFIC AND SALES through a kiosk by Atlanta-based SoloHealth that provides comprehensive health and wellness information and resources.
The concept encourages consumers to take charge of their own health and uses technology to
connect health care retailers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical brands, and a slew of other
advertisers, to the consumer.
SoloHealth Founder and CEO Bart Foster
says that his company first met with success with EyeSite, a self-service vision
kiosk. Soon after, SoloHealth received
$1.2 million in grant monies from the
National Institutes of Health to expand
the concept to a wide-ranging health and
wellness station. With technology from
Dell Inc. and kiosk design and manufacturing by Frank Mayer and Associates
of Grafton, Wis., the kiosks provide free
services to consumers, including vision
tests, blood pressure tests, body mass
index checks, and the ability to look up
symptoms, ask questions about pain
management, and learn about allergy
assessments. Customers can get a list
of local doctors who are part of their
insurance network, and among other
things, enroll in health services such
as Medicare Part D.
Nationwide, there are now 1,100 FDA-approved self-service SoloHealth Stations
in Walmart, CVS, Sam’s Club, Schnuck’s
Markets, Safeway, Publix, and other
stores. Retailers pay a nominal lease fee.
Their ROI comes from the kiosk’s added-
value attributes, such as sponsored content with display ads for coupons and follow-up e-mails
sent directly to the user. The discounts encourage them to return to shop for essentials, to
have pharmaceutical prescriptions filled, or to come in for weekly “Weigh-in Wednesdays.”
The latest kiosk statistics validate usage and gauge return on investment and future
potential. SoloHealth’s December 2012 report shows an interest uptick of more than 200
percent since late summer. Nearly 5 million consumers have used a kiosk, a figure that’s up
from 2. 5 million in late August. Consumer use on a daily basis has tripled, going from 10,000
per day at the end of August to approximately 35,000 in late 2012. And more than 25 percent
of consumers are returning users, says Foster, adding that there’s a reported 95 percent rate of
consumer satisfaction regarding accuracy of results, length of the experience, and likelihood
of using the Station again.
“There are sometimes 110 people a day waiting in line to use the kiosk,” adds Foster, who
says some stores have plans to add a second station. “Every question is a trigger for content.
The consumer isn’t shy about sharing data—they want to provide as much info as possible
for the best results,” Foster notes.
The company expects the number of kiosks deployed in retail locations to increase to
4,000 by 2014.
SoloHealth kiosks allow store customers to check vital health measurements such as blood pressure. Retailers pay a nominal lease
fee to place the kiosks in their stores; their
ROI comes from the kiosk’s added-value
attributes, such as sponsored content with
display ads and coupons.
—By Susan Friedman
could have been avoided by testing prototypes in several stores.
COLLECT AND ANALYZE
The same is true of other design and merchandising elements. Salem, Mass.-based
signage hardware company Rose Displays
added a new division, Rose Digital, to
help customers measure all kinds of data
including ROI for digital graphics. The division, which partners with technology firm
Kokley Inc., lets customers gather data
using the same tablet devices they use for
decorative and informational graphics.
“Tablet technology is so robust,” says
Rose Displays CEO Dean Rubin. “It does
far more than a large kiosk can do, costs far
less, and can be moved anywhere.” While
many retailers are jumping on tablet computers as a way to provide interactive, easily
changed graphics for stores, Rubin says the
devices can do much more. Data analysis
can easily show whether or not it’s worthwhile for a store to offer electronic coupons,
use tablets for checkout, let customers use
them to buy and ship gift items, and more.
But that doesn’t mean that every store
would benefit from all, or even any, of these
“I’m a big believer in the classic ‘A-B’ comparison test,” Rubin says. The investment
cost in a tablet is far less than it is with a
kiosk, but unless a store gets a good ROI, it’s
not a good investment.
“The goal of using tablet technology is to
increase sales,” Rubin explains. He stresses
that it’s important to ask what the technology is doing for your brand and for the customer experience. “Does it attract people?
Sure, an iPad is sexy. But if nobody uses it,
stick to the kiosk,” he says.
Kokley’s I T staff can program the tablets,
change their information, and remotely
analyze the data gathered. Rubin says the
IT staff will ask questions including: Did
people use the device to help their deci-sion-making? How many times was the
device turned on? What did people use it
for? All of this can be measured and compared to sales figures to discover whether
or not the device made a difference.
Rubin explains that a retail chain can
send out traditional poster kits and displays, but can’t easily find out how many
of them are used or how well the display